Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused foreign powers of trying to “weaken” the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) after the Turkish government criticized Germany for allowing opposition rallies and a French magazine for portraying Erdoğan as a dictator.
“You George, you Hans, you cannot defeat us. You cannot put distance between us. I love my people for the sake of God, and my people love me for the sake of God,” Erdoğan claimed in a public rally in the western province of Manisa on Monday.
His comments came as the Turkish government criticized German authorities for allowing the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to hold a rally in the German city of Cologne on Saturday.
“They are not allowing our friends to attend meetings in Germany even for state duties, but they allow PKK,” Erdoğan said and added: “They [Germany] are lying to us. They allow terrorists to stage rallies under police protection.”
The HDP, which the Erdoğan regime accuses of being a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was allowed to hold a rally, with almost a thousand supporters gathered in Neumarkt Square.
In April, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had said his country would not allow Turkish politicians to conduct election campaign rallies.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also expressed discomfort on Monday over Germany’s “interference” in early elections slated for June 24, criticizing it for allowing a pro-PKK rally.
“The Turkish people feel uncomfortable over the meddling in domestic affairs, interference in elections and an interventionist attitude. So do we,” Bozdağ, who is also the government spokesperson, told reporters in central Yozgat province.
“I say, let’s use the ballot to give the biggest response to Germany. With a comeback that will please Turkey and upset Germany on June 24, all their anti-Turkey efforts will go down the drain,” he said.
Bozdağ claimed this attitude is a sign of the German government’s interference in elections in Turkey. Ankara has long criticized Berlin for not taking serious measures against the PKK, which uses the country as a platform for their fundraising, recruitment, and propaganda activities.
Germany has laws that oblige foreign politicians to secure permission from the authorities three months before any rally, and AKP politicians have been prevented from campaigning there.
The Foreign Ministry defined Germany’s approach as “hypocritical” in a written statement on Sunday, stating that Germany’s permission for an HDP rally “cannot be reconciled with democracy, the fight against terrorism and expectations of normalization in Turkish-Germany relations.”
Erdoğan also blasted French magazine Le Point for its recent cover describing Erdoğan in the headline “The Dictator: How far will Erdoğan go?” “Those who are allowing terrorists to rally under police guard while thwarting every step our friends have taken are also protecting by means of the police the posters that are against us under the name of a magazine cover,” Erdoğan said.
“I have a bond with my people, no matter what poster you hang and no matter what you say,” he added.
Le Point reported on May 28 that Erdoğan supporters tried to remove the front cover poster from a billboard in the Spanish city of Valencia.